Global E-commerce Summit 2017: Policy Arena on “Changing consumer legislation in Europe”

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For the first time in the history of the conference, Ecommerce Europe presents four policy tracks within the Global E-commerce Summit program. We have invited European policymakers, C-level speakers from prominent e-commerce companies and promising startups, and consumers’ representatives to discuss the effect of upcoming policy changes in Europe on the e-commerce sector. The objective is to learn how online merchants can prepare themselves for new rules and future regulations, and most importantly have a say in the debate concerning pressing policy choices which are not yet decided upon.

Panel discussion on ‘Retailer and consumer rights’

One of the four policy tracks that is on the agenda for the first day of the conference, on Tuesday 13 June, is about Consumer Policies. Indeed, merchants and consumers are not fully aware of their rights and obligations when they sell and shop online. The fact that sometimes EU consumer and contract law in this field is not fully harmonized or has only a low level of harmonization, leaving room to single Member States to go further, creates a fragmented EU legal framework, uncertainty and lack of consumer trust, which hampers cross-border e-commerce.

EU policymakers are currently working on harmonizing B2C contract rules for the sales of goods and the supply of digital content. However, Ecommerce Europe notices and is concerned about the fact that there are still diverging views on having a full harmonization approach and extending the rules proposed by the Commission to all B2C sales, be they online or offline. In the view of Ecommerce Europe, full harmonization and alignment of online/offline rules is the only way ahead to increase legal certainty for all parties.  Also, EU regulations tend to be too complicated to be understood by both consumers and online merchants, especially by SMEs. Being differing and complicated legal frameworks a major barrier to cross-border e-commerce in Europe, this workshop will address, amongst others, the following questions:

  • How can we improve consumer rights and contract law without imposing unreasonable burdens on online merchants?
  • How can both online merchants and consumers benefit from a single horizontal “EU Consumer Code”? Can this improve all parties’ legal certainty? What is the role of pan-EU trust labels, like the Ecommerce Europe Trustmark?
  • What should the EU Consumer Code contain? How can we concretely realize it?

For more information on the program of the Global E-commerce Summit 2017 and to register, please visit the event website e-commercesummit.com. For more information on the Policy Arena, please contact lucacassetti@ecommerce-europe.eu.

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